Category Archives: JimPhelps

Advanced CAMP – Part 3

Merri Beth Lavagnino – Privacy and Policy

Policy and privacy are really consideration of the human aspects and impacts of technology.  Policies are: strategic direction and operating philosophy (which are usually informal and cultural), Public and Institutional policies (these are both documented and usually legal documents).

Institutional policy – a statement that reflect the philosophies and values of the project, service, organization or federation.  Policies should be clear and concise, applicable across a wide range of activities and should not change very much.

Why create a policy?

  • When reasonable people disagree
  • To guide thinking when making decisions
  • To correct repeated misbehavior
  • When there are significant risks or liabilities
  • In response to external forces like regulation or law

Where does the policy apply?  Federation, Institution, Service

Real-life stories:

  • Email Outsourcing:  vendors proposed that we would do incident response and legal requests for both students and alumni.  There was no policy that said they had to be in charge and n control.  She took the discussion back to the original goals for the project. (1) Improve and add services for students and (2) reduce their costs.  So they did not take on the incident response because that would not reduce the costs.  That was the policy that helped inform the decision.
  • Course Management System:  they changed their course management model.  They began to get incident reports because the new service didn’t match the old policies for the previous system.
  • Virtualization:  They moved to a new virtualized systems.  The old policies where around knowing that super-hot data is on a specific machine, with a specific system admin.  Now, they didn’t know what machine had the data and all sys admins might have access.  Had to expand training and the understanding of how they would manage super-hot data.
  • InCommon Agreement:  Thought that went very well.

“A policy is a temporary creed liable to be changed, but while it holds good it has got to be pursued with apostolic zeal.”  Mohandas K. Gandhi

Privacy:

Categories of privacy harms:

  • Intrusions : They come into your space and contact you and tell you what to do (spam, cold calls)
  • Information Collection:  They watch what you are doing more than they should (tracking, interrogation, etc)
  • Information Processing:  They have a lot of data about you, and they do things with it. (data mining)  Need to watch out for secondary use – collect for one reason then use it for another reason.
  • Information Dissemination:  They disclose data about you, perhaps more than you think they should.  (Transferring data, true or false facts)

Fair Information Practice Principles:  The FTC drafted these principles and they do enforce them.  Higher Ed is not under the FTC’s jurisdiction but users are expecting these principles to be met.  If we don’t

  • Notice/Awareness:  User should be given notice of your information practices, in order to make an informed choice about whether to provide information.
  • Choice/Consent:  User should be given options as to how any personal information collected from them may be used.
  • Access Participation:  Users should be given access to the data held about them, and ability to contest that data’s accuracy and completeness.
  • Integrity/Security:  data should be secure and accurate
  • Enforcement/Redress:  there should be a mechanism in place to enforce fair information practices and it should include appropriate means of recourse by injured parties.  At a minimum, you should right the wrong.

Ken Klingenstein: Federated Identity and Data Protection Law

Good quote from Ken K:  “This is an attempt to bring trust to internet via technology not just because it is just us chickens”.
EU Law Directive 95/46/EC :  You can process personal data when it is required to perform contact, required to satisfy legal duty or consent.

Identity Providers must identify which services are necessary for education and research.  Must inform the users.  May seek users’ informed freed consent to release personal data to other services.  You have to show why it is important.    Should have a data process/data controller agreement with all service providers to whom personally identifiable data is released.  Must ensure adequate protection of any data released to services outside the EU.  We have to play by the EU rules.

Service Providers must consider whether personally identifiable information is necessary for their service or whether anonymous identifiers are sufficient.  You may request personal information from users but you must inform.

There is no normalized definition of what Personal Identifiable Information (PII).  There are questions about email addresses:  if it is a third party email address it might not be but a .edu address might be.  So the content might be more important than the field.

IP Addresses – if it is a dynamic address it is not PII.  So, unless you know it is a dynamic address, then you have to treat it as PII.

EduPerson Targeted ID – this is going to the EU privacy commission this Fall.  It is a 32 bit opaque identifier that is different per site visited.

OASIS Cross-Enterprise Security and Privacy Authorization (XSPA) – just formed group.  A mechanism to allow consent agreements flow with data.  The first and dominant Use Case is health care.  Looking for other Use Cases.  Does this make consent a new service in our loosely coupled service?  Do services need to be consent aware?

Report Out from Discussion Sessions:

Data Modeling Group:

Modeling person and organization data.  Modeling of organization data is remarkably difficult not just in the nature of the data but also in the resistance that you get from organizations to being characterized.  Multiple organization charts – financial, hr and reporting structure.  The characterizations can be political.  Are there pressures that will lead to the marginalization old way of doing things?  Organizations that don’t want to be characterized may not get services.

Service Discovery:

What would a service description look like:  what is it called, cost, how to call it, operational context (where is it physically located).  Discussion about how you describe the service, how do you recognize similar services in distributed locations.  Talked about the grid is doing this with their RNA.

What is happening today: people using Google to search for services and looking for a WSDL.

How do you get consent?  What about promises and claims?  What about a directory of all the services?  What about a directory of directory?  You could have a convention for naming the directory so you could at least find the directories.

DNS works for finding things.

Governance:

Domain Governance – governance revolves around an application or a data element, or attribute (student ID).  These models will have to evolve to domain governance: enrollment, IdM etc.

Who owns the data especially as the data is transformed and sent along the ESB?  Services are requesting the data that can then be used by other services.

SLAs – keeping tracking of who can use the use the service.

The need for a directory of services especially in emergency notification.  There is also a need to know who is consuming services so you can notify on changes.

What is being done now on campuses?  It is evolving on campuses.  Identity and Access Management is a domain that is being governed  as a domain at Penn State.

Saint Louis University has a good examples of domains in higher education that need to be governed as a domain.

Lightening Talks:

Rob Carter:  Tracking and Authenticating IP in Cyberspace

We had all of our resources stored inside the walls of the institution.  We now see with cloud computing and Web 2.0 applications, our intellectual property out in the cloud.  How do we track the reuse of them?  How do we contextualize the content.

How do we know that it is really and artifact of mine and not someone spoofing my creations?

Could solve this with digital signatures.  What if we could add metadata before it goes out into the cloud.  Get a signature of the object and attach the signature to the object or store it elsewhere.

How does this align with Creative Commons licensing efforts.  You can search and crawl for for CC licensed objects that you use.

Loretta Auvil:  Music Analysis.

Dynamic analysis of a Tom Lehrer file.    Very entertaining.

Scotty Logan:  IAM Services and Well Behaved Apps

If every app does its own thing, there is no real management.

Trust the container:  Identity – you can get a user name from Tomcat et al, Authentication, Authorization

Have the container provider the groups and privileges as a URI

OAuth.net – a specification developed by a group to solve the “I want my Flickr protected photos on Facebook but I don’t want to give you my Flickr username and password”.

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Advanced CAMP – Registering, Discovering and Using Distributed Services Part1

R.L. Bob doing the introduction: 

Advanced CAMP could mean to some people the advanced topics beyond just the basics.  Bob likes to think of it as the Advance Camp out in the wilderness where you are more likely to get caught in a blizzard, get shot and generally face the wilderness.

The theme that came out was the needs around service discovery in higher education.  Discussions will cover CyberInfrastructure for Humanities, Cloud/Grid, SOA, ESB.    Discussion groups on data models, governance, service discovery and <your topic here>.

Workshop Format:  Each participant should offer (at least):  1 opinion, 1 rant, 1 hope, 1 keen observation.

The problem space:  SOA is happening across academia in variety of ways varying from Web2.0 apps, mash-ups, messaging.  It happens intra and inter-institutional.  This impacts how we offer a variety of services and raises a set of questions:

  • How should digital tools and data for scholarship be made available?
  • What metadata should be recorded about them?
  • How can metadata be globally aggregated and searched?
  • What operational and security environments should protect them and enable their appropriate use?
  • how should their semantic relationships be codified and maintained?

Mark comments:  connecting metadata to the object and having it persist and stay attached as the object moves around and is copied is a difficult area to address.

Jill:  SOA is also talked about traditional administrative system but do people think about this

Why would academics would want to store their content in a central system?  It might be about the ability to add metadata and re-use the content in multiple places.

Loretta Auvil:  SEASR

http://seasr.org/

Goal was do develop a software environment that would allow for the reuse of software components focused on data mining applications for the humanities.  Looking at text analysis and music analysis doing genre analysis, mood analysis. 

The components and descriptions of those components are very web centric based on SOA and Semantic Web.  They are talking about a Semantic Enabled SOA.  The components are written in RDF.

Looking at interesting ways of searching:  Tag Clouds, Link Flows

Working on a workbench using Google Web Toolkit.  Allows you to do a mash-up of the components into flows.

Example Applications:  MONK – it has a custom UI that calls SEASR as a service.  NEMA – music analysis service that does 10 second slices of an MP3 looks at the genre and mood. 

Steve Masover:  Project Bamboo

http://projectbamboo.uchicago.edu/
Flickr and del.icio.us tags:  projectbamboo

Asking the question:  How can we advance arts and humanities research through the development of shared technology services?

Areas of focus

Discovery and Analysis
Annotate and manage – including the idea of Folksonomic tagging with identifiable levels of authority.

Need to support serendipitous discovery.  Search is not useful if it limits serendipity and foraging.  Intellectual Property pain and accelerating interdisciplinary are motivate “commons-based peer production” (cf. Yochai Benkler) .  There is impatience with copy-write.  There is desire to support inter-scholar relationships.  Community / Networking that support a “lattice of interest”.  Legal and institutional policy are trending towards advocacy around fair use in law.

Emerging aspects of scholarly practice include: shared standards and services, social and scholarly networks, deep consortia across disciplines and national borders.  There is need for a chain-of-credibility in mash-ups.

Looking less on service/tools developments and more on standards-profiling and services to facilitate interoperability.  One area that they might focus on the sharing / tracking of reference use:  who used a resource in what context and for what purpose, who provided the resources to the commons.

We are moving from a wedding cake stack (data and repository, middleware, application on top) to a three-side figure with mash-ups and tools on edge of the triangle.

Ken K – we heard from an English scholar that he is does not do “team english.  He is a cat and he does not want to be herded”. 

There is a tension between scholars wanting to know “who is using their stuff” and but not wanting to their activities monitored.

Daniel Davis:  Fedora Commons

http://www.fedora-commons.org/

Now a 501-3c organization.  Moving from an internal grant-funded project to a community project.

Much of the work is focused on integrated services from other projects rather than re-writing code that already exists.

Splitting into multiple projects: 

  • Fedora Repository – original Fedora Project,
  • Middleware – looking at seamless integration between other groups’ services,
  • Akubra Storage – new storage plug-in architecture, transaction file system,
  • Topaz – core components for semantic-enabled apps currently publishing several journals mostly in medical research,
  • Mulgara Triplestore – highly scalabel triplestore.

Relevant technical trends:  SOA, Web2.0, RDF, OWL and OWL-S

There are two paradigms that we are dealing with:  the lightweight Web model with little trust / security and the Enterprise model where you have deep trust / security models (think HR systems).  A repository can bridge these two worlds.  You can easily repose content then add a trust  model and policy driven controls for adding scholarly information on top of the content. 

The Enterprise paradigm need to support near ACID (atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability) semantics and a strong security and trust model. 

Question:  The idea that there is a difference between Federated Identity and Federated Repositories and how that would work.    They are different aspects but related. There are discussions about shared information between the repositories like User Accounts.  In one repository, that person might be an account.  In the other, they might be a reference.  How much do you share between the two repositories.

Jens Haeusser:  Kuali Student

http://www.kuali.org/communities/ks/index.shtml

Keys:  Modular, standards-based student system.  Community Sourced rather than open source in that their is a board who sets direction and manages the roadmap.  It is a person centric system – focused on meeting the needs of the users of the system.  SOA-based.

Traditional ERPs – you tend to implement twice.  Once, when you try to make it meet your current practices and then again when you accept the best practices as defined by the vendor.

Functional Vision:  Support the end users by anticipating their needs.  Support a wide range of learners and learning activities (traditional students but also life-long learners, distance learners, exchange students et al).  Design to make it easier to change business processes.  Reduce time staff spend on routine tasks.

Technical Vision:  SOA and Web Services.  Not delivering an application as much as they are delivering a framework for you to deploy your business processes.  Using the Web Services stack:  Standards-based, adhere to Educational Community License (ECL).  Building the system in Java.  Open Source reference Implementation.

Guiding Principles for the KS Technical Architecture as a PDF

The functional design team is gathering input from a broad range of players from both within an institution as well as between institutions.

The first thing they are working on is Learning Unit Management.  Treating it more like SKUs.  You can compose them together to make larger units.  They have learned that the current way many systems define courses isn’t very good.

Technical Recommendations as a PDF

Database:  Apache Derby
Orchestration:  Apache ServiceMix, Sun OpenESB, Kuali Enteprise Workflow (KEW)

Created a standard development environment that includes a submission environment.  Maven and Subversion, Google Web Toolkit (UI).  Business Rule Management System (BRMS) to store and search for business rules includes a UI for business users to define the rules.  Looking at the Fluid Project for support of accessibility/usability requirements.

They are using different ESB for different aspects of the framework. 

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ITANA Face 2 Face – Security Architecture

Indiana University

Completed a 10 year Strategic Plan which worked because they connected money to it.  You couldn’t get funding unless you showed how your project connected to one of the 71 strategic initiatives.  Completed a 10 year tactical Telecom Plan.  Instead of replacing 1/4 of the switches every year for four years, they want to replace all switches in one year so they can take advantage of new features.

802.11X access solution based on MAC addresses or logins.  Getting to automated, policy-based network access.  What is the value of this and what have people done in this area?  What are the policy zones?  This can flip it over so that we are both protecting our network from devices as well as protecting devices from our network.

This group could develop some design templates that schools could use in discussions with vendors.

UW-Madison

Should there even be a Security Architecture?  Shouldn’t security be embedded in all of the groups and users?  When Stefan started in 2001, he always was asked, “Why” about security items.  Why do I need to use a firewall?  Why should I have logging turned on?  Set a set of principles:

  • Security is Everyone’s Responsibility
  • Security is Part of the Development Life Cycle
  • Security is Asset Management (classifying the information)
  • Security is a Common Understanding

We have a five step process for doing a risk assessment.  First we agree to the assessment scope, then conduct the assessment, develop a draft report, communicate the findings then re-assess as needed.

Risk = (Impact X Likelihood) / (Mitigation Controls)

Impact is related to costs.  How do you monetize reputation?  You can ask how would you spend to prevent this from happening.  This is a Risk Prioritization process.

How do you balance the security principles against the development principles (scalability et al).

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ITANA Face 2 Face: Data Management

Data Management  Discussion:

Key Issues:

  • Data Architecture, Analysis and Design
  • Data Security Management  – data access and security
  • Reference and Master Data Management  – making data available rather than copying data
  • Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence Management – normalizing the data across the data warehouse
  • Document, Record and Content Management –
  • Meta Data Management –

The difference between Structured Data (data in authoritative systems, usually in a database) and Unstructured Data (  ).  The Structured Data was designed by DBA.  These can proliferate silos.  Complex queries are difficult to build and brittle.  The metadata and taxonomy as delivered is often “accepted” without thought as the enterprise definition and taxonomy.  They also include open fields to store what ever you want.

Unstructured data is individually generated, often in file systems, often without much metadata that is meaningful to enterprise.  The rich media formats cannot be easily mined to discover content.  Management is a nightmare with a proliferation of stores and types of content.

Structured Data Gaps:

Data Warehouses:  it was sold as a way to build a bridge across the silos.  The queries are difficult to construct and often take a lot of effort to get written.  It is hard to deliver the complex queries.  All the business logic is missing that is used to develop the data and queries.  There is a gap in the definitions and the data in the warehouse.  You can define student 12 ways so any query could have 12 answers.

There is no business rules repository that lets you figure out how things are defined.  You can build business rules into the database and into the application code.  The farther you get from source, the farther you get from the business rules and the definition and intent for the data.

Data Warehouse is used to buffer the source system from queries.

When we give out reporting tools to individuals in offices, then it locks you into schemas in the data warehouse.  As people develop their queries, it locks down the database table structure.  If you change the schema to make more enterprise sense, then many distributed queries suddenly break.  There are also “experts” who are vested in their interests in the complexity of the data warehouse.  When you streamline and change the process and the queries, you actually threaten the experts.

LDAP as an example:  We bring data from a bunch of sources, we then normalize the data and present it in standard queries for consumption at large.

A place to start:  things that go into an executive dashboard.

Access To Data project that turned into a drive to get large data sets into Excel on the desktop so they could drill around on their own.

Privilege Management: Authorization in application based on name NOT on an institution role.

At UW-Madison, we manage privileges by sneaker-net.  We don’t have access to metadata so that we can generate privileges based on roles.  We don’t have a way to delete someone from all of the systems when they leave or change roles.  The roles of people have states that we have to move them through.

There are multiple organization charts that come into play when you try to define the role(s) the person which can actually be different at the application roles.  Every application also has roles defined and applications do RBAC.  But there needs to be an external system where you manage these people and roles.  There are two views:  one is that there has to be application centric views of roles and privileges, the second is that there could be a set of pre-defined roles that come with a suite of privileges. 

There are a set of RULES which are different than the roles.  The rules must be stored in a repository as well. 

Unstructured Data Gaps:

Electronically recorded lectures, talks etc: We gather some metadata when we create the file like it is the third lecture, created on this date, etc.  We cannot scan these files to get rich metadata.

Unstructured Data Management Architecture from IBM.  It is cycle-intensive.  It looks at 10 second clips of music and adds metadata (like it is “happy music”).    The idea that you can just grind at the problem with power might work for a while.  There are vendor(s) who are working in this spaces.

Just knowing what data exists is an important step.  Storage is just as important.  How long do you archive, repose the data?  At what level of storage should you storage?  The librarians are building dark archives.  They are storing data in hopes that some day we will be able to “do something with it”.  The metadata harvesting and management tools are immature. 

Digitally Signatures:  When we throw stuff out onto the web or into distributed storage, how do we mark the content so we can mine the archives.  “If there was a point to doing it, people might do it.”  Not many people see the value in deploying the systems.

Wikipedia claims that authors are professors who aren’t so their stuff will be taken more seriously.  The ability to express our university membership out in the world at large becomes more important.

Students will be coming to us with digital identities.  They will want to use those identities and we will become another fob on their keychain that they use in the world at large.  We may not be the source of their identities in the future.

All of the data is going to live someplace.  We will not be holding it all but we will need to be able to assert our IP over the data wherever it lives.  Look at the RIAA and their ability to enforce their IP across multiple platforms.

Standardized media formats:  

E-discovery:   When you have an E-Discovery request, it is no longer personal data or institutional data.  What is the impact of distributed storage and the Web2.0 applications on e-discovery requests.    Where is the liability?  Who will be sued?  Don’t change data management practices to because of e-discovery.

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ITANA Face 2 Face Case Studies

Duke University

http://oit.duke.edu/tag/

Tech Architecture group at Duke is charged:

  • to track emerging technology and raise issues for the CIO’s consideration
  • review major decisions
  • integrate into the project management lifecyle
  • pay attention and champion certain solutions

Developed small set of principles – few enough that they could remember them around four areas:

  • Data
  • Infrastructure
  • Services
  • Support

Each of these areas are highlighted in each principle’s page (http://oit.duke.edu/tag/principles/p-robust-systems.html)

The principles:

  1. Robust Secure Systems
  2. Link don’t copy
  3. Design for scalability
  4. Design for information lifecycles (not only the data but the overall system)
  5. Adapt to realities of people and technology (has to work in real life)

There is tension between all of the principles. You are picking a failure mode when/if you don’t meet a principles.

TAG drafted the principles. Focus groups used to refine the principles. The “adapt to the realities” principle came from the focus groups. Did an OIT-wide staff survey. Then followed a communications plan to evangelize the principles. They showed practical application via case studies – looked at situations that went badly or tough decisions that had to be made. The case studies are very valuable for communications and for the change management. They chose failures that where inside the group so that they would be criticizing themselves.

They also use Issue Reviews when there is a failure (http://oit.duke.edu/tag/issues/index.html). Each write-up has a list of recommendations with the principle highlighted.

The idea is build a volume of case-law and to evaluate the principles. “You’re making stories… the legend that becomes part of the culture”.

UW-Milwaukee

Started the planning process in 2005-2006. Looked the leadership and the way that the serve campus. They also help support the UW-System.

Targeted the information flows between and within the academic, research and administrative areas. Engaged the leadership.

They hired staff with EA experience and repurposed staff with expertise. They then looked at frameworks to take advantage. The liked the TOGAF framework but streamlined it and made it more light-weight.

The EA Team has:

  • Chief Process Architect
  • Enterprise Data Architect (Michael Enstrom)
  • Operations Architect
  • Application Integration Architect
  • Security Architect
  • Network Technology Architect
  • Web Architect
  • Deputy CIO

Developed Architecture Principles in four areas; Business, Data, Application, Technology. Develop “IT Guiding Principles” for centralized and decentralized IT-Oriented staff (“how we’ll function”). Defined the activities that we will follow together to put the Architectural Principles in place. Almost an SLA with the business partners.

Now doing a data/application/process inventories – huge pain, a lot of work. Trying to capture legacy information before people retire.

A lack of a consistent approach to requirements gathering leads to solutions that aren’t based on deep understanding. The role of agile approach is to do it in smaller chunks. This helps align the requirements with the end-users needs. They have used the IIBA Requirements Management methodology. The CIO is paying for the training of people outside of IT so they all speak a common language.

They are looking at an “Emerging/Accepted/Best Practices” approach. Looking a broad suite of standard best practices. Evaluate the standards and see what they want to use.

Working on a method to bring every one to the table set priorities for funding and projects.

Saint Louis University

2006 – was getting a lot of things done but they weren’t connected. Lot’s of talk about flexibility and agility. There was a lack of change control with “heroism at the interfaces”. Lot of big projects going with and showing success: network, info shield, DHCP, Banner ERP upgrade, IDM. The CIO said, “show me some ROI” when she created her EA group.

Drivers for EA: mitigation of risks with the Banner Upgrade, regulations (SOX), lack of documentations. Started with the ITS shop first.

Governance included the 19 architects (domain and EA architects). The things that worked: the focus on People, Process and Technology. The PIM (Product Item Master) and the quarterly report of the PIM. Building relationships has been a focus for the past year or two. Created an Enterprise Infrastructure Working Group to manage the desktop image.

Using procurement to document savings.

Next Steps:

Architecture Gaps – they have reference architectures and the PIM but there are steps and layers missing between the two,
Governance Gaps – missing ties between strategic goals and the local technical choices,

The Control of the Work statement: what does that mean? Do you think the EA group will control the work? Means enterprise system / standards type context under the control.

How do we articulate the importance of “Architecture” regardless of the leadership and changes in leadership?

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Digital Neighborhoods – Guiding design

Second LifeDigital neighborhoods seem like a powerful tool for discussing technology and its impact on users (students, staff, researchers, etc) and the concept adds interesting new requirements to projects. Getting a good understanding of your users’ digital neighborhoods can guide design and deployment of new technologies and help predict impacts on the users themselves. Understanding how they move in their neighborhood, where they travel frequently and what places are stable over time, provides insight into the key places you should try to place application.
I came upon Jeff Swain via Twitter which led me to his blog-post about his digital neighborhood. I was wandering in my digital neighborhood and into the surrounding areas when I found his link. Jeff talks about reading David Weinberger’s Small Pieces Loosely Joined. To quote Jeff’s post:

As Weinberger points out space on the web doesn’t work that way. Distance is measured in hyperlinks and proximity is created by interest. In other words, each of us gets to create own own space on the web. Your own neighborhood, if you will, filled with the places you find interesting…. So this got me to thinking, What does my digital neighborhood look like? What seemingly disparate places are loosely joined (pun intended) just because I happen to be interested in them?

Jeff then goes on to do an analysis of his digital neighborhood.

As I read Jeff’s piece, I began to think about the value of understanding digital neighborhoods. If we understood our incoming students’ digital neighborhoods, it would give us a better understanding of how to reach them, what their interests are and places that we should think about pushing content into. One example that we have in place is in Facebook. We now have an emergency notification group and system in place in Facebook. Our leadership can push out notices via Facebook, into the user’s neighborhood.

Another example is our increasing use of RSS feeds for various applications and calendar feeds. This lets users pick up the content and move it to their own neighborhood. I have a calendar feed for our corporate calendar system integrated into my Google homepage. I can check my work calendar while checking personal email, local news and recording my workouts. The fact that my calendar appears among my personal tools means I track changes to my calendar much more closely when I’m at home doing my personal things. In some ways, Google’s custom homepage is like strip-mall with a few anchor stores (Mail, Calendar, Google Apps) and a lot of empty store fronts that you can fill with your own shops.

The value of these virtual malls, is that users can aggregate enough of their own personal content and applications that it makes it worth the trip. Every time you go on the web, you have thousands of possible places you could visit. Yet, you visit a select few. If we continue with the physical store/neighborhood metaphor: Every time you go shopping, you could go to any store in town but you go to a select neighborhood (like our State Street) because of the variety of interesting shops or to a given store because of the shop has some unique value (low price, selection, the one thing you can only find at their store). A similar thing happens when we deploy applications. Users are expected to visit that application because of the unique value it brings. When we bring up applications that are separated from their current digital neighborhood, it is like building your store in a new mall well out of town. The users have to have some reason to visit. The value has to be higher than an application built in their neighborhood or built such that it can easily be included.

This suggests to me at least, that we need to think about our users’ current digital neighborhoods and how we can integrate our new applications and services into those neighborhoods. RSS feeds are a low risk and fairly simple way to move content into their neighborhoods. Facebook groups and applications could reach into the students’ world. Portlet type applications that can be put into existing enterprise portals or into sites like Google’s homepage allow richer interaction. Finally, if if has to stand on its own, it better have unique value that makes it worth the trip.

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Eat your vegis or Have A Little Green Tree – getting EA into the Enterprise

I was thinking about how, when I try to get buy-in for doing Enterprise Architecture as a holistic thing, I tend not get very far with the campus. But, when I parse out little EA bits, they catch on. I was thinking about this in terms of the metaphor: Getting Kids To Eat Vegetables. Before I go on further – this is not meant to demean the campus community nor do I mean to imply they are childish. It is just a good metaphor for my understanding what is going on around me.

There are two approaches to getting kids to eat vegetables. The first is the top-down, holistic approach where you explain that vegis are good for you. You talk about good food and bad food and vitamins and healthy eating. This is the Enterprise Architecture as a holistic practice approach. You talk about why we need to do Enterprise Architecture and the benefits or reducing redundancy, getting a handle on what we are doing and why, setting a clear(er) roadmap for the future. Our institution, like most kids, don’t really get the point of the discussion nor do they buy into the argument.

The second approach (re: kids and vegis) is to sell them on “eating a little green tree” also known as broccoli. Then convincing them that peas with mint are pretty good cold. Once they are eating three or four types of vegis, you can explain the vegetable concepts and start in on nutrition. “You know, carrots make it so you can see better in the dark. That’s pretty cool that a carrot can give you night vision. Let’s eat carrots each night this week and see if on Saturday, we can see better in the dark.” You can get buy-in for the short-term cool gain of one vegetable type.

This is what seems to be working for us architects here at UW-Madison. I have slowly started pushing out some different artifacts and practices. Each one is catching on based on its own merits. We have various places starting with principles using the TOGAF format for Principles .

I’ve started to get people interesting in applying the NIH EA Brick Diagram to various projects and technologies.

This is an interesting approach to “doing enterprise architecture”. I’ll need to focus more on small acceptable bites that are examples of why you should do EA at large. Get them eating broccoli, peas and carrots and then talk about nutrition.

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EA in Academia Presentation

Below is a repackaged copy of my “Enterprise Architecture in Academic Environments” presentation that I gave at EDUCAUSE Mid-West Regional Conference 2008. It is packaged as a Quicktime Movie.

Sometimes you fall in love with gear

Spring Riding GearLast Fall I bought a Gore Bike Wear Tool jacket that I just love. I cross-country skied in it all Winter. Biked in it all Fall and started up biking again this wintery Spring. It is rain proof enough for rainy rides home (5 miles). It is warm enough for cold ski outings and 10 degree (F) bike commutes. It has pit zips for warmer days. I wore it today on a 45 degree, overcast road ride.

I also have a pair of climbing tights that are marvelous – useful throughout a wide range of temperatures and conditions. Metolius used to make them though they are now discontinued. I hate to think about replacing them.

It is wonderful when you stumble on great gear. You can buy a half-a-dozen replacements trying to find another thing that is just as good and end up with half-a-dozen pieces on a shelf, rarely worn.